Book Review

Ignorance: The new national threat

By Susan Jacoby
Pantheon Books, 356 pages, $26

One of the biggest threats to the American way of life might not be the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism, but rather the insidious erosion of learning and rationalism in the United States, a place where “just us folks” live. American students score 24th in the world in mathematical ability, two-thirds of Americans between 18 and 24 can’t locate Iraq on a map, and one out of four public school teachers believe that dinosaurs and humans lived side by side.

This is the America that Susan Jacoby dissects in her new book, The Age of American Unreason.